Best Guacamole

No life story, no history of the avocado, just the recipe.


  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 tbs coriander (when chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime
  • salt & pepper grinder (around 1/4 tsp of both)
  • 1 tbs chopped jalapeno peppers if you want to give it a kick and have some handy


Finely chop the onion, the tomatoes, the garlic, the chilli and the coriander. Grate the rind from the lime. Juice the lime. Peel and mash the avocados to your desired level of chunkiness. Mix everything together.

Roast Pumpkin Risotto


  • 500g butternut pumpkin
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1L Massel chicken-style stock (it’s vegan, and I prefer the cubes, but the powder is good too)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp Moroccan seasoning
  • Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 190°C

Peel and cut the pumpkin into 1-2cm cubes and place in a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and brush to coat. Sprinkle with 1tsp of the Moroccan seasoning. Place in oven and bake for around an hour.

While pumpkin is cooking, prepare your other ingredients. Wash the rice. Make up the stock in a large saucepan and leave to simmer on very low heat. Fill the kettle and boil in case more liquid is required. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

When the pumpkin has been baking for around half an hour, start making the risotto. In a large saucepan, add the onion and around 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook on low heat until transparent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the dry Arborio rice, a little more oil (1/2 tbsp) and cook for 2 minutes, regularly stirring.

Add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir through. Stir the rice regularly to ensure it doesn’t stick to the saucepan. Once all the liquid is absorbed (no visible liquid bubbling), add another ladle of stock. Repeat until half the stock is used, always stirring regularly. Add the remaining Moroccan seasoning and half the Parmesan and stir through.

Continue adding stock and regularly stirring until the rice is fully cooked – use a fresh teaspoon to take out a couple of grains and let them cool a little before testing. The rice should not have a hard centre when fully cooked. If the stock is all consumed before the rice is fully cooked, refill the stock saucepan with hot water from the kettle. Don’t make up more stock, water is fine. Continue adding a ladle of liquid at a time and stirring, and test every few minutes to check if it’s fully cooked.

The pumpkin should finish baking around the same time the risotto is cooked. Mash around 1/3 of the pumpkin and stir through the risotto. If the pumpkin is done before the risotto is done, it’s good to add the mashed pumpkin before the risotto is finished. Fold through the remaining baked pumpkin and the rest of the Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4. Enjoy!

Mexican vegetable cottage pie


Olive oil – 2tsp
Brown onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
Garlic – 2clove(s), crushed
Mexican Chilli powder – 2tsp
Tomato paste – 1tbs
Canned red kidney beans – 1 can
Canned black beans – 1 can
Canned pinto beans – 1 can
Canned corn kernels – 1 can
Vegetable stock cube – to make 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable stock
Dried oregano – 1tsp
Orange sweet potato – ~800g, cut into 2cm pieces
Skim milk – 2tbs
Fresh coriander – 2tbs, leaves, to serve
Oil spray – 1 x 3 second spray


  1. Chop sweet potato into 2cm cubes and roast at 180deg for 45-60 minutes or until cooked.
  2. Heat oil in a deep non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, chilli powder and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  3. Drain and rinse the corn kernels. Set aside.
  4. Drain the beans, setting aside approx 125ml (1/2 cup) of the Aquafaba (the viscous water) from the black beans and pinto beans.
  5. Mix beans together, set aside 1/3 of the beans and mash with a potato masher.
  6. Add beans, corn kernels, stock, aquafaba, mashed beans and oregano and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a 1.5 litre (6-cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
  7. Mash sweet potato in a large bowl with milk. Spoon mash over vegetable mixture and lightly spray with oil.
  8. Preheat grill on high. Grill pie for 5 minutes or until light golden. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander leaves.

Simple Ideas: Competition and Acquisition

Some of my friends call me a socialist (usually conservatives/those hanging out on the right of the political spectrum), and some call me a capitalist (usually progressives/those hanging out on the left). I guess that puts me in the middle. As an entrepreneur and owner of businesses, the fact is that, by virtue of my actions, I’m a capitalist. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything in our capitalist economic system, or even most of it. I’m certainly a big supporter of social and environmental consciousness in business – my businesses are B Corporations, we support 1% for the Planet, and I regularly speak on the subject of social and environmental responsibility in business, and take direct action to help try to fix systemic problems. Clearly I believe that capitalism can do a lot better.

One of the ills of our capitalist system is the seemingly inevitable tendency of industries to drift inexorably toward monopolies or oligopolies. I think this is one of the natural “features” of a capitalist system. One of the features is *supposed* to be competition driving efficiencies and reducing costs and passing these reduced costs on to consumers, but this doesn’t always happen. In the quest for efficiencies or other levers to increase profits or yields, companies merge or acquire other companies. Economies of scale, centralisation of administration or other activities, can lead to increased profits or returns on investment, so of course companies will pursue these avenues. It almost goes without saying, these mergers or acquisitions are almost always terrible for consumers. Consolidation of ownership or market share leads to reduced competition by definition, and that reduced competition will usually lead to higher prices. Generally always a bad outcome for consumers, but also for the economy as a whole.

My proposal to address this failing of capitalism is to limit the ability of companies to acquire other companies. Clearly, this could be a major problem for smaller businesses, but they aren’t the source of the problem I described above, so they don’t necessarily need to be included. It can start with listed companies. Why should any publicly listed company be allowed to acquire another company (publicly listed or otherwise)? I can’t think of any good reason why, can you?

It’s the numbers, dummies!

~ OR ~

Why progressives need to blame themselves* for the Trump Victory

Following the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency last week, a tsunami of analysis has followed, with everyone giving their theory to explain who voted for Trump, who didn’t vote for Hilary and why they did or didn’t. Racism, misogyny, anger at the political elite and neoliberal economics, disillusionment with the system, etc. But before the analysis must come the data.

I’ve previously made the case that politics is a matter of numbers, and those numbers can be confronting.

There are two sets of figures that leapt out at me from the stream of punditry following the US election. And they’re both about voter turnout.

Voter Turnout (in a small way)

The US political system is quite different to ours, and not just in the obvious area of concentration of executive power and the agenda of government that naturally flows from it. Another key feature of the US system is voluntary voting – and our compulsory voting system is one of the causes of the phenomena described in the above linked post.

Here’s the first set of numbers:


Apart from the surprising, and mostly sustained, rise in turnout from 2000 to 2004, the takeaway from this is that the Republican vote is basically unchanged in every election from Bush in ’04 all the way up to and including Trump in ’16. So every pundit making pronouncements about people voting for Trump due to his policies on immigration, neoliberal capitalism, jobs, taxation, foreign policy, etc, are just making it all up. Because there was no net gain to republican votes. Every voter who switched to Trump for those reasons was countered by a voter who switched away, or switched off altogether.

Speaking of switching off altogether, and to get to my point, check out what really made the difference in that graph. The MILLIONS of democrat voters who just stopped voting. Wow. Seriously, just wow! 3.5 million dropped off between Obama ’08 and Obama ’12, then another 5 million from Obama ’12 to Clinton ’16.

So what’s the explanation? Maybe sexism in the US is worse than racism? Maybe Clinton was seen as part of a corrupted system? At this stage, who knows? Certainly none of those pundits trying to explain the result based on Republican vs Democrat policies – this has nothing to do with Trump or Republicans. Democrats lost those 8.5 million votes, and they didn’t lose them to Republicans, they lost them altogether. They need to find out why this happened, and to do it, they need to do some real research and find out from those people who stopped voting. And take action to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Voter Turnout (in a big way)

The US has a population of 320 million. Of these, 230 million are eligible to vote, and approximately 200 million are actually enrolled to vote. 113 million actually voted. 60.3m voted for Trump, 61m for Clinton, 3.25m for Johnson and 1m for Stein. So sure, if every green voter had voted for Hillary then there would be a different president come next January.

But the real problem number is that around 85 million *enrolled* voters didn’t vote.

Why bother trying to change Republican minds, or even Greens for that matter? It’s got to be a lot easier to go find those people who didn’t vote, and convince 1 in 10 of them to commit to come out and vote. After all, that 1-in-10 did come out and vote in 2008. Stop running the campaign in the media, and get back running it at the grassroots level. Get your people to *vote*. Whether or not the polls were right before the election – and just because Trump won, doesn’t mean the polls were wrong – then the effort needs to be focussed on the last mile: getting people out to vote who already want to vote progressive.

Conclusion: Progressives, stop screwing up our future!

The world can no longer afford the do-nothing-or-go-backwards agenda of conservatism. Change in so many parts of society (climate change, technological change, etc) is happening too fast for the population to take it’s traditional “breather” from too much rapid change, in the form of a few years of conservative government. It used to be part of the political cycle, but we simply can’t afford it any more. Especially when it comes to climate change. Of all the dangers that were deeply concerning when the world was (and is still) facing with a Trump presidency, the most serious one is that inaction on climate change will strip us of our last chance to survive as a species.

So please Democrats of the United States, quit the protests, redirect your energy into getting busy and drag your people to the polls for every election to come!

Everything else is secondary.



* Yes, it’s “ourselves”.